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Blasphemy Against the Spirit: What is The Unforgivable Sin?

Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven.
Matthew 12:31

Introduction

Arguably, this statement from Yeshua is one of the most, if not ‘the’ most unnerving or frightening statement in the entire Bible.

We are informed that, whilst all sins can be forgiven, there is one sin that cannot be forgiven, and that is blasphemy against the holy spirit. Such a sin we are told, makes us guilty of “everlasting sin”, and guarantees a person eternally condemned to Gehenna.

This statement has left some people frightened, paranoid, desperate for answers and certainty. And for good reason, for nobody likes the idea of not being able to be forgiven of sin, resulting in their everlasting destruction.

But if we don’t know what it is or what it really means, how do we know whether we have somehow committed it or not? Indeed, such a thought is not a comforting one.


What Exactly ‘is’ the Sin Against the Spirit?

Based on the passages where Yeshua speaks of everlasting sin, there have been various proposals of just what exactly the sin is.

Some say it simply means attributing the miracles of Yeshua to the power of the Devil, whilst others think it means labelling any supposed miracle performed by someone who claims to be empowered by the holy spirit, as evil, or fake, is the unforgivable sin. And some people think it means simply “saying something bad” about the holy spirit, such as insulting it, using profanity against it, using its name in vain, falsely claiming to have its power, or even just claiming not to believe in it.

Because of the uncertainty and various ideas flying about the world on just what this sin is, it’s easy to see why a person can be easily confused and led into uncertainty, and therefore, discomfort and fear.

Some so-called preachers and cult leaders also take advantage of this, and capitalise on this fear. For example, many so-called “faith healers” in the world claim to have the holy spirit, and use showmanship or stage trickery to fool their audiences into thinking they have the gifts of the spirit in order to make money from vulnerable or desperate people.

Based on Yeshua’s words when he criticised the Pharisees for claiming his works were fake or of the Devil (Mark 3:30), these “healers”, often will try to scaremonger anyone who would hold them with scrutiny, or doubt their abilities, claiming they are “blaspheming the spirit” and will be condemned if they don’t go along with the show and mindlessly believe in them.

But what is really being said by Yeshua? What is the context?

Will I be condemned forever, simply because I am critical of certain people claiming to have the holy spirit? Will I be condemned for calling out a person claiming to be a miracle worker, who I ‘genuinely’ think is a fraud, or dare say, even potentially “demonic”? Have I, or anyone else for that matter, committed the unforgivable sin?

What if I was mistaken, and someone I ‘really’ thought to be a fraud or demonically possessed was in fact genuine, and did indeed have the holy spirit? Am I therefore condemned by my mistaken words or thoughts in such a case?

Will an atheist who loves his neighbour be eternally condemned by ‘genuinely’ not having belief, or speaking aloud that he does not believe in holy spirit? Or saying a bad word about such things?

Let’s take a deep dive into the scriptures in regard to these specific passages of Yeshua’s warnings…


A Closer Examination of Yeshua’s Words

  • Then a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute was brought to Yeshua, and he healed the man so that he could speak and see. The crowds were astounded and asked, ‘Could this be the Son of David?’ But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, ‘Only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, does this man drive out demons.’  Knowing their thoughts, Yeshua said to them, ‘Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. But if I drive out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come upon youOr again, how can anyone enter a strong man’s house and steal his possessions, unless he first ties up the strong man? Then he can plunder his house.  He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters. Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the one to come. Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of his good store of treasure, and the evil man brings evil things out of his evil store of treasure. But I tell you that men will give an account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned‘.”Matthew 12:22-37
  • ”As Yeshua went on from there, the scribes and Pharisees began to oppose him bitterly and to ply him with questions about many things, waiting to catch him in something he might say… Yeshua began to speak first to His disciples: “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisyFear the One who…has authority to throw you into Gehenna. Yes, I tell you, fear Him!I tell you, everyone who confesses me before men, the Son of Man will also confess him before the angels of God. But whoever denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God. And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven“.Luke 11:59, 12:1, 5, 8-10
  • “…the Pharisees went out and began plotting with the Herodians how they might kill Yeshua… He had healed so many that all who had diseases were pressing forward to touch Him. And when the unclean spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, ‘You are the Son of God!’ But He warned them sternly not to make him known…. And the scribes who had come down from Jerusalem were saying, “He is possessed by Beelzebul,” and, ‘By the prince of the demons He drives out demons.’  So Yeshua called them together and began to speak to them in parables: ‘How can Satan drive out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, it cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, it cannot stand. And if Satan is divided and rises against himself, he cannot stand; his end has come. Indeed, no one can enter a strong man’s house to steal his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can plunder his house. Truly I tell you, the sons of men will be forgiven all sins and blasphemies, as many as they utter. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of eternal sin.’  Yeshua made this statement because they were saying, ‘He has an unclean spirit.” – Mark 3:6, 10-12, 22-30

As we look to the above passages in their full context, we see Yeshua warns of blaspheming the holy spirit when he mentions the Pharisees, for they claimed he gained his power from demons and not God. However, when looking at the overall theme of Yeshua’s words, it appears that there is far more to it than merely stating Yeshua was working via the demons. That in itself was merely the ‘surface symptom’ of the “true sin” they were committing.

If we pay close attention, Yeshua brings attention to the fact that the Pharisees were hypocrites. He connects the blasphemy against the spirit with “being against him”, that “rejecting Yeshua” results in Yeshua”denying us before the angels of God”.

Take a good look at the sentence Yeshua says in Matthew 12, he says “he who is not with me is against me”, immediately he follows with the phrase “therefore… every sin will be forgiven, but not the blasphemy against the spirit”. There is direct connection between the opposing of Yeshua and the blasphemy against the spirit.

What we see, is not merely a “singular action” that contributes as the sin against the spirit, but rather, the ‘heart’ behind the action.

Throughout these texts, we are constantly being told the Pharisees and Scribes were “plotting”, “bitterly opposing”, “murdering”. These things Yeshua says came out of “their evil storehouses”. The storehouse, in this respect, refers to what is “inside a man”, his heart, by which he then speaks.

Yeshua knew their hearts, “their thoughts”, what was “in their storehouses”, and he found them to be hypocritical, evil. Thus, in warning us about their “leaven”, he refers to their hypocrisy of posing to be holy men, but on the inside being “vipers”. Their intent was not at all holy, or honest, they were not merely mislead, or mistaken, but were rotten to the core, full of “dead men’s bones” (Matthew 23:2733).

Therefore, when it says in Mark 3, “Yeshua said this because they said he has an unclean spirit”, it is not merely because of what they ‘said’, but rather, the ‘motivation’ within their hearts which ‘resulted’ in what they said.

We in fact see this theme expanded upon and explained further in scripture by the Apostles in their letters. If we take look to their words in regard to unforgivable sin and the grieving of the spirit, we can see the same themes echoed:

  • ”Everyone who believes that Yeshua is the Anointed has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father also loves those born of Him. By this we know that we love the children of God: when we love God and keep His commandments… For this is the testimony that God has given about His Son. Whoever believes in the Son of God has this testimony within him; whoever does not believe God has made Him out to be a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has given about His Son.  And this is that testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life… If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he should ask God, who will give life to those who commit this kind of sin. There is a sin that leads to death; I am not saying he should ask regarding that sin. All unrighteousness is sin, yet there is sin that does not lead to death. We know that anyone born of God does not keep on sinning; the One who was born of God protects him, and the evil one cannot touch him. We know that we are of God, and that the whole world is under the power of the evil one. And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true—in His Son Yeshua [the] Anointed. He is the true God and eternal life”.1 John 5:1-2, 10-12, 16-20
  • It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age—and then have fallen awayto be restored to repentance, because they themselves are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting Him to open shame”. Hebrews 6:4-6
  • If we deliberately go on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no further sacrifice for sins remains, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume all adversaries… How much more severely do you think one deserves to be punished who has trampled on the Son of God, profaned the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and insulted the Spirit of grace?”. – Hebrews 10:26-27, 29
  • “As a prisoner in the Lord, then, I urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling you have received: with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, and with diligence to preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.  There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. Now to each one of us grace has been given according to the measure of the gift of [the] Anointed… …you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do… They are darkened in their understanding and alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardness of their hearts. Having lost all sense of shame, they have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity, with a craving for more.  But this is not the way you came to know [the] Anointed… And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:1-7, 17-20, 30

As we see, the same themes are repeated over and over.

We see a connection between “knowing Yeshua”, “deliberate sin”, the abandonment or opposing of Yeshua, “grieving the spirit”, and “no sacrifice being left for sin”, of “repentance being impossible”.

Note, that John tells us that there is sin that does not lead to death, and sin that does lead to death. Whilst all sin is unrighteousness and results in death (Romans 6:23), John appears to be echoing the same sentiments of Yeshuahere, who said “all sins and blasphemy will be forgiven, but the blasphemy against the spirit will not be”. Yeshua told us that was the ‘only’ sin which cannot be repented of, therefore it obviously stands to reason, that John’s “one sin that leads to death” is speaking about the exact same subject.

John tells us, that this sin leading to death is by “not having the Anointed one”, and ‘refusing’ to keep God’s commandments. He tells us that a person who does this “calls God a liar”, which is the exact type of phrase Yeshua used when he faced the Pharisees who accused him of having a demon, in a sense they were knowingly calling him, and in turn God’s spirit, liars.

Again, Paul expresses this, who says those who have ‘truly’ “come to know the Anointed”, and have ‘truly’ “shared in the holy spirit”, who then fall away and deliberately make a practice of sin cannot repent, for there is no sacrifice left for them. He calls this a “grieving of the holy spirit” and an “insulting of the spirit of grace”, again echoing both Yeshua’s and John’s sentiments. This language is in fact even seen in the Old Testament, and therefore would have been very familiar with Jewish-Christian audiences:

  • But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit. So He turned and became their enemy, and He Himself fought against them”. – Isaiah 63:10

Paul tells us that those on this rebellious path “crucify the Son for themselves”. If we harken back to the Gospels, who was it who was responsible for crucifying the Son? Was it not the Pharisees who sent him off to the Romans to be tried? Likewise, then, Paul repeats the warning of Yeshua, who said; “beware the leaven of the Pharisees!”, this leaven being the hypocrisy of knowing holiness, but turning one’s back on it for one’s own selfish desires and evil lusts.

  • “…It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness than to have known it and then to turn away from the holy commandment passed on to them. Of them the proverbs are true: ‘A dog returns to its vomit,’ and, ‘A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud'”. – 2 Peter 2:22

Therefore, a simple understanding of what this blasphemy is, a person who 100% knows something for a certainty to be an act of the holy spirit, and being a wilful opposer of God, of the Son, or of the holy spirit, a true antichrist, with an intentionally wicked heart, who refuses to alter their course or repent of their sins, and chooses war with God’s family, who becomes a true eternal Satanist in every meaning of the sense.

“Yeshua said to them, ‘If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own, but He sent me. Why do you not understand what I am saying? It is because you are unable to accept my message. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out his desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, refusing to uphold the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, because he is a liar and the father of lies. But because I speak the truth, you do not believe me!'”John 8:42-45


Is Scepticism A Form of The Unforgivable Sin?

Though we’ve seen that sinning against the spirit is in regard to having a wicked heart that opposes God… Is being sceptical of others who claim to have the holy spirit a part of the sin against the spirit?

If I or you were to deem a faith healer, or other kind of “miracle worker” as either a scam artist, deluded, or even worse, as a demon possessed person using Satanic deceptions to trick his audience, are we attributing the holy spirit to evil? Or if we were truly mistaken in our honest judgement, and in fact deemed a man performing a real holy miracle to be empowered by evil, have we blasphemed? Instead of giving a direct answer, we should again, look into scripture to give the answer for us:

  • Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness!’”Matthew 27:22-23
  • “…the coming of the lawless one will be accompanied by the working of Satan, with every kind of power, sign, and false wonder, and with every wicked deception directed against those who are perishing, because they refused the love of the truth that would have saved them”.2 Thessalonians 2:9-10
  • “These are demonic spirits that perform signs and go out to all the kings of the earth, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty”.Revelation 16:14

As we can see, scripture in fact warns us to be wary of those claiming to be able to perform signs, miracles or prophecies. This then naturally would imply that we all be wary and not to believe anyone and everyone who claims to be able to have the power of the holy spirit with them. Yeshua even tells us that people would do many works “in his name”, but he does not know them at all!

But what about being unsure about something that may in fact be a genuine miracle by means of the spirit? Again, we have examples in scripture which inform us:

  • “’If you were blind,’ Yeshua replied, ‘you would not be guilty of sin. But since you claim you can see, your guilt remains'”. – John 9:41
  • “So the other disciples told him, ‘We have seen the Lord!’ But he replied, ‘Unless I see the nail marks in his hands, and put my finger where the nails have been, and put my hand into his side, I will never believe‘”. – John 20:25
  • And indeed have mercy on those who are doubting. – Jude 1:22

Again, we see scriptural reference, that those who are ignorant, blind, mistaken, or otherwise unsure, do not commit a sin, and therefore one cannot “accidentally sin against the spirit”. Likewise, we see examples of those, such as Apostle Thomas, who wanted hard evidence for the things they were being told, even though he had already witnessed many miracles by means of the holy spirit, including hearing the words of Yeshua who himself said that he would rise in three days! We are told, those who have doubt, are to have mercy extended to them, not punishment.

We see that those who truly blaspheme the spirit, know what they are doing, and do so willingly, they are ones who ‘truly’ “see”, but choose to rebel, just like Satan and his demons (Matthew 8:29, James 2:19).


“Have I Blasphemed the Spirit? Is it Too Late for Me?”

Regardless of what we have seen in scripture, some people still may be left doubting. Some may feel it is too late for them. They may have been someone who did formally oppose God, or Yeshua , or the holy spirit, and perhaps was someone who purposely said bad things about them.

This is more common than some think, as often people who live agnostic or athiest lives, fall into sinful attitudes, and actively mock God, they attempt to test him, oppose him, make fun of believers, and puposefuly do things or say things that are insulting or blasphemous, whilst others who misunderstood God formally in their lives, may also have said or done things they have regretted.

Is it too late?

If we look at Paul’s words, we should take note that he says, for such people “repentance” is impossible… note he does not say “forgiveness is impossible” (Hebrews 6:6). What’s the difference? You might ask?

The key here, is that blaspheming the spirit is not a singular action, but a state of being, a state of heart. It is a person who eternally opposes God, and his Son, and therefore literally cannot receive the “sealing of holy spirit” for redemption, because they actively choose to block it from their lives with their unrepentant attitude. That is why salvation and forgiveness is eternally “impossible” for them, because they refuse salvation.

If then, you are afraid, regretful, sorry, begging God that he forgive you, wanting to accept Yeshua as your saviour, then it can be said for a certainty, you have not committed the unforgivable sin. For “whoever confesses the Son, and keeps God’s commandments” gains life (Luke 12:8, 1 John 5:1-2).

A person who has truly committed the unforgivable sin, will never change their ways, and they do not care that they are condemned, they do not regret their choice, they refuse salvation, they refuse to accept God as their Father, and Yeshua as their Lord. It is for this very reason, they are guilty of “eternal sin”, for they choose to sin for eternity.

Satan, however, would want you to believe you have committed this unforgivable sin, because he would want to demoralise you, to rob you of faith, to cause you to give up. Once a person is convinced they can do nothing to be saved, it will be inventible that they will fall into a life of depravity and sin, and will not bother repenting, which in an ironic twist of fate, will seal their future. As Paul put it “if there is no resurrection, let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die” (1 Corinthians 15:32).

Do not fall into such a devilish trap. If your heart moves you to seek God and his Anointed one, and to obey his commands, to seek repentance and gain eternal life, listen to that calling, for nobody comes to God unless He calls them (John 6:44), listen to that yearning, and put on the “armour of God” (Ephesians 6:11), to repel the attacks of the Devil, who wishes to fool you into condemning yourself into a life of non-repentance and hopelessness.

Ask God for forgiveness, and to grant you peace in your heart.

  • “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in [the] Anointed Yeshua”. – Philippians 4:6-7
  • And by this we will know that we belong to the truth, and will assure our hearts in His presence: Even if our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts, and He knows all things”. – 1 John 3:20


Conclusion

So to conclude with a short recap.

Blasphemy against the spirit, is defined by having a wicked heart, and a refusal of repentance. It is eternal opposition to God, to take up sides with the Devil.

The Pharisees committed this sin, and expressed it outwardly when they claimed Yeshua was demon possessed, knowingly lying about him, and opposing the power of the holy spirit, when they knew better, making them “hypocrites, vipers and murderers”.

We are warned in scripture, not to fall for tricks, or those who would “claim” to have the spirit, and thus being critically minded of such people, is not at all sinful, but is in fact, called for, by command of the holy words given to us, in order that we not fall for those who would deceive or take advantage of us, be that men, women or something far worse.

So long as we retain humility, honesty, and purity of heart in our commitment to God and his Son as our Lord, we are in safe hands.

Anyone who is afraid they have committed the unforgivable sin, but wishes to truly repent of the things they’ve said or done, have certainly not committed the sin for scripture informs us that the sin by nature is one committed by an evil unrepentant heart, and therefore one should always follow their yearning to make up with God, and be in his good graces by means of his Son.

Published by Proselytiser of Yah

Arian-Christian Restorationist

2 thoughts on “Blasphemy Against the Spirit: What is The Unforgivable Sin?

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